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Was Life Created?

Cover: Beach and reef: Digital Vision Ltd/age fotostock

What do you believe?

Many religious fundamentalists believe that the earth and everything on it was created in six 24-hour days, just a few thousand years ago. Some atheists would have you believe that God does not exist, that the Bible is a book of myths, and that all life is the product of random, undirected events.

The majority of people hold views that are somewhere be- tween these opposing ideas. The fact that you are reading this brochure likely indicates that you are one of them. You may be- lieve in God and respect the Bible. But you may also value the opinion of highly trained and influential scientists who do not be- lieve that life was created. If you are a parent, you may wonder how to answer your children when they ask questions about evo- lution and creation.

What is the purpose of this brochure?

It is not the purpose of this material to ridicule the views either of fundamentalists or of those who choose not to believe in God. Rather, it is our hope that this brochure will prompt you to exam- ine again the basis for some of your beliefs. It will present an ex- planation of the Bible’s account of creation that you may not have previously considered. And it will emphasize why it really does matter what you believe about how life began. Will you trust the claims of those who say that there is no in- telligent Creator and that the Bible is unreliable? Or will you ex- amine what the Bible actually says? Which teachings are worthy of your trust, your faith: those of the Bible or those of evolution- ists? (Hebrews 11:1) Why not review the facts?

Contents

PAGE 4 The Living Planet

PAGE 11 Who Designed It First?

PAGE 18

Evolution—Myths

and Facts

PAGE 24 Science and the Genesis Account

PAGE 29 Does It Matter What You Believe?

PAGE 30

Bibliography

2010 WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA All Rights Reserved Publishers WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC. Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. 2010 Printing This publication is not for sale. It is provided as part of a world- wide Bible educational work sup- ported by voluntary donations. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the modern-language New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures—With References Was Life Created? English ( lc -E) Made in the United States of America

The living planet

Life on earth could never exist were it not for a series of very fortunate “coinci- dences,” some of which were unknown or poorly understood until the 20th century. Those coincidences include the following:

˛ Earth’s location in the Milky Way galaxy and the solar system, as well as the planet’s orbit, tilt, rotational speed, and unusual moon

˛ A magnetic field and an atmosphere that serve as a dual shield

˛ Natural cycles that replenish and cleanse the planet’s air and water supply

As you consider each of these topics, ask yourself, ‘Are earth’s features a product of blind chance or of purposeful design?’

& NASA/JPL/Caltech

Earth’s perfect “address”

When you write down your address, what do you include? You might put in your country, city, and street. By way of comparison, let’s call the Milky Way gal- axy earth’s “country,” the solar system —that is, the sun and its planets—earth’s “city,” and earth’s orbit within the so- lar system earth’s “street.” Thanks to ad- vances in astronomy and physics, scien- tists have gained deep insights into the merits of our special spot in the universe. To begin with, our “city,” or solar sys- tem, is located in the ideal region of the Milky Way galaxy—not too close to the center and not too far from it. This “hab- itable zone,” as scientists call it, contains

Could the earth be located in a better position to host life?

just the right concentrations of the chem- ical elements needed to support life. Far- ther out, those elements are too scarce; farther in, the neighborhood is too dan- gerous because of the greater abundance of potentially lethal radiation and other factors. “We live in prime real estate,” says Scientific American magazine. 1

The ideal “street”: No less “prime” is

earth’s “street,” or orbit within our so- lar system “city.” About 93 million miles from the sun, this orbit lies within a limit- ed zone that is habitable because life nei- ther freezes nor fries. Moreover, earth’s path is almost circular, keeping us rough- ly the same distance from the sun year- round. The sun, meanwhile, is the perfect “powerhouse.” It is stable, it is the ideal size, and it emits just the right amount of energy. For good reason, it has been called “a very special star.” 2

The perfect “neighbor”: If you had to

choose a “next-door neighbor” for the earth, you could not improve on the moon. Its diameter measures just over a quarter of that of the earth. Thus, when

Magnetosphere: NASA/Steele Hill; earth tilt: Based on NASA/Visible Earth imagery

compared with other moons in our solar system, our moon is unusually large in relation to its host planet. Mere coinci- dence? It seems unlikely. For one thing, the moon is the princi- pal cause of ocean tides, which play a vi- tal role in earth’s ecology. The moon also contributes to the planet’s stable spin axis. Without its tailor-made moon, our planet would wobble like a spinning top, perhaps even tipping right over and turn- ing on its side, as it were! The resulting climatic, tidal, and other changes would be catastrophic.

Earth’s perfect tilt and spin: Earth’s

tilt of about 23.4 degrees causes the an- nual cycle of seasons, moderates tem- peratures, and allows for a wide range of climate zones. “Our planet’s tilt axis seems to be ‘just right,’ ” says the book Rare Earth—Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe. 3 Also “just right” is the length of day and night, a result of earth’s spin. If the speed of rotation were sub- stantially slower, the days would be longer and the side of the earth facing the sun would bake while the other side would freeze. Conversely, if the earth were to spin much faster, the days would be shorter, perhaps just a few hours long, and earth’s rapid spin would cause relent- less gale-force winds and other harmful effects.

Earth’s protective shields

Space is a dangerous place where le- thal radiation is common and meteor- oids are an ever-present danger. Yet, our blue planet seems to fly through this galactic “shooting gallery” with rel- ative impunity. Why? Because earth is protected by amazing armor—a powerful magnetic field and a custom-made atmo- sphere.

Earth’s magnetic field: The center of

the earth is a spinning ball of molten iron, which causes our planet to have a huge and powerful magnetic field that stretch- es far into space. This shield protects us from the full intensity of cosmic radiation and from potentially deadly forces ema- nating from the sun. The latter include the solar wind, which is a steady stream of energetic particles; solar flares, which in minutes release as much energy as bil- lions of hydrogen bombs; and explosions in the outer region, or corona, of the sun, which blast billions of tons of matter into space. You can see visible remind- ers of the protection you receive from

Aurora: Photo: Jan Curtis (http://latitude64photos.com); meteorite: ESA, NASA

the earth’s magnetic field. Solar flares and explosions in the sun’s corona trig- ger intense auroras, colorful displays of light visible in the upper atmosphere near earth’s magnetic poles.

Earth’s atmosphere: This blanket of

gases not only keeps us breathing but also provides additional protection. An outer layer of the atmosphere, the strato- sphere, contains a form of oxygen called ozone, which absorbs up to 99 percent of incoming ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Thus, the ozone layer helps to protect many forms of life—including humans and the plankton we depend on to pro- duce much of our oxygen—from danger- ous radiation. The amount of stratospher- ic ozone is not fixed. Rather, it changes, growing as the intensity of UV radiation rises. So the ozone layer is a dynamic, ef- ficient shield. The atmosphere also protects us from a daily barrage of debris from space—mil- lions of objects ranging in size from tiny particles to boulders. By far the majority of these burn up in the atmosphere, be-

The earth’s invisible magnetic shield

Aurora borealis

coming bright flashes of light called me- teors. However, earth’s shields do not block radiation that is essential to life, such as heat and visible light. The atmo- sphere even helps to distribute the heat around the globe, and at night the atmo- sphere acts as a blanket, slowing the es- cape of heat. Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field truly are marvels of design that are still not fully understood. The same could be said of the cycles that sustain life on this planet.

The atmosphere protects us from meteors

Is it only a coincidence that our planet is protected by two dynamic shields?

Natural cycles for life

If a city’s supply of fresh air and water were cut and its sewers blocked, disease and death would soon follow. But consider: Our planet is not like a restaurant, where new food and supplies are shipped in from outside and garbage is carted away. The clean air and water we depend on are not shipped in from outer space, nor is waste mat- ter rocketed out. So how does the earth remain healthy and habitable? The answer: the natural cy- cles, such as water, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen cycles, explained here and shown simplified.

3

2

The water cycle: Water is essential to life. None of us can live without it for more than

a few days. The water cycle distributes fresh, clean water around the planet. It involves three stages. (1) Solar power lifts water into the atmosphere by evaporation. (2) Condensa-

tion of this purified water produces clouds. (3) Clouds, in turn, form rain, hail, sleet, or

1 snow, which falls to the ground, ready to evapo- rate again, thus completing the cycle. How much water is recycled annually? According to esti- mates, enough to cover the earth’s surface uni- formly to a depth of more than two and a half feet. 4

2

Oxygen

Carbon

dioxide

The carbon and oxygen cycles: As you know,

in order to live you need to breathe, to take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide. But with countless billions of humans and animals doing the same thing, why does our atmosphere never run out of oxygen and become overloaded with carbon dioxide? The answer lies in the oxygen cycle. (1) In an amazing process called photo- synthesis, plants take in the carbon dioxide that we exhale, using it and the energy from sunlight

1 to produce carbohydrates and oxygen. (2) When we take in oxygen, we complete that cycle. All this production of vegetation and breathable air happens cleanly, efficiently, and quietly.

Stockbyte/Getty Images

A

Bacteria

Earth’s atmosphere is 78 percent nitrogen

Organic

molecules

B

Nitrogen compounds

C

Bacteria

The nitrogen cycle: Life on earth also depends on the production of such organic molecules as proteins. (A) To produce those molecules, nitrogen is needed. Happily, that gas makes up about 78 percent of our atmosphere. Lightning converts nitrogen into compounds that plants can absorb. (B) Then plants incorporate those compounds into organic molecules. Animals that eat those plants thus also acquire nitrogen. (C) Finally, when plants and animals die, the nitrogen compounds in them are broken down by bacteria. That process of decay releases nitrogen back into the soil and atmosphere, completing the cycle.

Perfect recycling!

Humans, with all their advanced tech- nology, create countless tons of unrecy- clable toxic waste annually. Yet, the earth recycles all its wastes perfectly, using in- genious chemical engineering. How do you think the earth’s recycling systems arose? “If the Earth’s ecosys- tem had truly evolved by chance alone, it wouldn’t possibly have been able to reach such a perfect level of environmental har- mony,” says religion and science writer M. A. Corey. 5 Do you agree with his con- clusion?

How would you reply?

˛ Do you feel that the earth’s features are the product of purposeful design? If so, which of the above facts do you find most convincing?

˛ How would you respond to the claim that the earth is nothing special, just another setting where evolution could occur?

Teeming with life

Subterranean

bacteria

Pollen

Anemone

No one knows how many species there are on earth. Estimates vary from 2 million to 100 million. 6 How pervasive is life on our planet?

Earth: Just one hundred grams (3.5 ounces) of soil has been found to host 10,000 species of bacteria, 7 not to mention the total number of microbes. Some species have been found almost two miles underground! 8

Air: In addition to the birds, bats, and insects that fly through the air, the at- mosphere is filled with pollen and other spores, as well as seeds and —in certain areas—thousands of differ- ent kinds of microbes. The diversity of microbial life in the air is “on par with the diversity of microbes in the soil,” says Scientific American magazine. 9

Water: The oceans remain largely a mystery because in order to study the watery deep, scientists often have to use costly technology. Even coral reefs, which are relatively accessible and are well-surveyed, may host mil- lions of yet unknown species.

Did this impressive variety of life arise by chance? Many would agree with the poet who wrote: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.” —Psalm

104:24.

In the Bible, God’s personal name is Jehovah.—Psalm 83:18.

10 WAS LIFE CREATED?

Bacteria: Penn State University, laboratory of Jean Brenchley, and with kind permission from Springer Science Business Media: Extremophiles, Novel ultramicrobacterial isolates from a deep Greenland ice core represent a pro- posed new species, Chryseobacterium greenlandense sp. nov., January 2010, Jennifer Loveland-Curtze; pollen: Fotosearch

Who designed it first?

In recent years, scientists and engineers have, in a very real sense, allowed plants and ani- mals to instruct them. (Job 12:7, 8) They are studying and mimicking the design features of various creatures—a field known as bio- mimetics—in an effort to create new products and improve the performance of existing ones. As you consider the following examples, ask yourself, ‘Who really deserves the credit for these designs?’

Learning from the whale’s flippers

What can aircraft designers learn from the humpback whale? A great deal, it seems. An adult humpback weighs about 30 tons—as much as a loaded truck—and has a relatively stiff body with large wing- like flippers. This 40-foot-long animal is remarkably agile under water. What particularly intrigued research- ers was how this stiff-bodied creature could turn in what seem to be impossi- bly tight circles. They discovered that the secret is in the shape of the whale’s flip- pers. The leading edge of its flippers is not smooth, like an aircraft wing, but ser- rated, with a row of protruding bumps called tubercles. As the whale slices through the water, these tubercles increase lift and reduce drag. How? The journal Natural History explains that the tubercles make the wa- ter accelerate over the flipper in an orga- nized, rotating flow, even when the whale is rising at very steep angles. 10 What practical applications does this discovery promise? Aircraft wings based on the design would evi- dently need fewer wing flaps

or other mechanical devices to alter air- flow. Such wings would be safer and eas- ier to maintain. Biomechanics expert John Long believes that someday soon “we may well see every single jetliner with the bumps of humpback whale flip- pers.” 11

Mimicking the seagull’s wings

Of course, aircraft wings already mim- ic the shape of birds’ wings. However, en- gineers have recently taken this mimicry to new heights. “Researchers at the Uni- versity of Florida,” reports New Scientist, “have built a prototype remote-controlled drone with a seagull’s ability to hover, dive and climb rapidly.” 12 Seagulls perform their remarkable aerobatic maneuvers by flexing their wings at the elbow and shoulder joints. Copying this flexible wing design, “the

Plane: Kristen Bartlett/University of Florida

Fotosearch

24-inch prototype drone uses a small motor to control a series of metal rods that move the wings,” says the magazine. These cleverly engineered wings enable the small aircraft to hover and dive be- tween tall buildings. Some military per- sonnel are keen to develop such a highly maneuverable craft for use in searching for chemical or biological weapons in big cities.

Copying the seagull’s leg

A seagull does not freeze, even while standing on ice. How does this creature conserve its body heat? Part of the secret is in a fascinating design feature found in a number of animals that dwell in cold re- gions. It is called the countercurrent heat exchanger. What is a countercurrent heat ex- changer? To understand it, picture two water pipes strapped closely together. Hot water flows in one pipe, and cold, in the other. If both the hot water and the cold water flow down the pipes in the same direction, about half of

the heat from the hot water will trans- fer to the cold. However, if the hot water and the cold water flow in opposite di- rections, nearly all the heat will transfer from the hot water to the cold. When a seagull stands on ice, the heat exchangers in its legs warm the blood as it returns from the bird’s cold feet. The heat exchangers conserve heat in the bird’s body and prevent heat loss from its feet. Arthur P. Fraas, a mechanical and aeronautical engineer, described this de- sign as “one of the world’s most effective regenerative heat exchangers.” 13 This de- sign is so ingenious that human engineers have copied it.

Heat transfers, remains in the body

Cold stays in the feet

Boxfish and car: Mercedes-Benz USA

A concept car imitates the surprisingly low-drag and stable design of the boxfish

Who deserves the credit?

Meanwhile, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is developing a multilegged robot that walks like a scor- pion, and engineers in Finland have al- ready developed a six-legged tractor that can climb over obstacles the way a giant insect would. Other researchers have de- signed fabric with small flaps that imi- tate the way pinecones open and close.

Who is nature’s patent holder?

Such fabric adjusts to the body temper-

ature of the wearer. A car manufacturer

is developing a vehicle that imitates the

surprisingly low-drag design of the box- fish. And other researchers are probing the shock-absorbing properties of aba- lone shells, with the intention of making lighter, stronger body armor.

So many good ideas have come from nature that researchers have established

a database that already catalogs thou-

Sonar in dolphins is superior to the human imitation

sands of different biological systems. Scientists can search this database to find “natural solutions to their design prob- lems,” says The Economist. The natural systems held in this database are known as biological patents. Normally, a pat- ent holder is a person or a company that legally registers a new idea or ma- chine. Discussing this biological patent database, The Economist says: “By calling biomimetic tricks ‘biological patents’, the researchers are just emphasising that na- ture is, in effect, the patent holder.” 14 How did nature come up with all these brilliant ideas? Many researchers would attribute the seemingly ingenious designs evident in nature to millions of years of evolutionary trial and error. Other re- searchers, though, arrive at a different conclusion. Microbiologist Michael J. Behe wrote in The New York Times of February 7, 2005: “The strong appear- ance of design [in nature] allows a dis- armingly simple argument: if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck, then, ab- sent compelling evidence to the con-

Gecko foot: Fotosearch; hummingbird: Laurie Excell/Fogstock/age fotostock

Scientists are researching the shock-absorbing properties of abalone shells

trary, we have warrant to conclude it’s a duck.” His opinion? “Design should not be overlooked simply because it’s so ob- vious.” 15 Surely, the engineer who designs a safer, more efficient aircraft wing would

deserve to receive credit for his or her de- sign. Likewise, the inventor who devises

a more comfortable clothing material or

a more efficient motor vehicle deserves

credit for his or her design. In fact, a man- ufacturer who copies someone else’s de-

sign but fails to acknowledge or credit the designer may be viewed as a criminal. Now consider these facts: Highly trained researchers crudely mimic sys- tems in nature to solve difficult engineer- ing problems. Yet, some would attribute the genius of devising the original idea to unintelligent evolution. Does that sound reasonable to you? If the copy requires an intelligent designer, what about the original? Really, who deserves more cred- it, the master engineer or the apprentice who imitates his designs?

The gecko can cling to the smoothest of surfaces by using molecular forces

A logical conclusion

After reviewing evidence of design in nature, many people echo the senti- ments of the Bible writer Paul, who said:

“[God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and God- ship.”—Romans 1:19, 20.

How would you reply?

˛ Does it seem logical to you to believe that the brilliant engineering evident in nature came about by accident?

˛ How would you answer the claim that life only appears to be designed?

Copyright Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

Was it designed?

If the copy requires a designer, what about the original?

Fibers

˛ Man-made product: Kevlar is a tough man-made fiber used in such items as bulletproof vests. To manufacture Kevlar, high temperatures and hazardous solvents are required.

˛ Natural product: Orb-weaving spiders produce seven types of silk. The sturdiest, known as dragline silk, is lighter than cotton yet, ounce for ounce, is stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar. If enlarged to the size of a football field, a web of dragline silk 0.4 inch thick with strands 1.6 inches apart could stop a jumbo jet in flight! Spiders produce dragline silk at room temperature, using water as a solvent.

Microscopic view of spider silk being secreted

Navigation

˛ Man-made product: Some commercial airliners have computerized autopilot systems that can not only guide a plane from one country to another but also land the plane. The computer used in one experimental autopilot system is about the size of a credit card.

˛ Natural product: Using a brain the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, the monarch butterfly migrates up to 1,800 miles from Canada to a small patch of forest in Mexico. This butterfly relies on the sun to help it navigate, and it has the ability to compensate for the movement of the sun across the sky.

Lenses

˛ Man-made product: Engineers have developed an artificial compound eye that fits 8,500 lenses into a space the size of a pinhead. Such lenses could be used in high-speed motion detectors and ultrathin multidirectional cameras.

˛ Natural product: Each eye of a dragonfly is made up of some 30,000 lenses. These lenses produce images that combine to create a wide mosaic view. The compound eyes of the dragonfly are superb at detecting movement.

Darwin: From the book Origin of Species, 1902; book: AbeBooks.com

Evolution

myths and facts

“Evolution is as much a fact as the heat of the sun,” asserts Professor Richard Dawkins, a prominent evolutionary scientist. 16 Of course, experiments and direct observations prove that the sun is hot. But do experiments and direct observations provide the teaching of evolution with the same undisputed support?

Before answering that question, we need to clear up something. Many scien- tists have noted that over time, the de- scendants of living things may change slightly. For example, humans can selec- tively breed dogs so that eventually the descendants have shorter legs or longer

Charles Darwin and his book Origin of Species

hair than their forebears. Some scien- tists attach to such slight changes the term “microevolution.” However, evolutionists teach that small changes accumulated slowly over billions of years and produced the big changes needed to make fish into am- phibians and apelike creatures into men. These proposed big changes are defined as “macroevolution.” Charles Darwin, for example, taught that the small changes we can observe

The changes dog breeders can produce often re- sult from losses in gene function. For example, the dachshund’s small size is caused by a failure of nor- mal development of cartilage, resulting in dwarfism.

implied that much bigger changes—which no one has observed—are also possible. 17 He felt that over vast periods of time, some original, so-called simple life-forms slowly evolved—by means of “extremely slight modifications”—into the millions of different forms of life on earth. 18 To many, this claim sounds reason- able. They wonder, ‘If small changes can occur within a species, why should not evolution produce big changes over long periods of time?’ In reality, though, the teaching of evolution rests on three myths. Consider the following.

Myth 1. Mutations provide the raw materials needed to create new spe-

cies. The teaching of macroevolu- tion is built on the claim that mutations —random changes in the genetic code of plants and animals—can produce not only new species but also entirely new families of plants and animals. 19 The facts. Many characteristics of a plant or an animal are determined by the instructions contained in its genetic code, the blueprints that are wrapped up in the nucleus of each cell. Research- ers have discovered that mutations can produce alterations in the descendants of plants and animals. But do mutations really produce entirely new species? What has a century of study in the field of genetic research revealed? In the late 1930’s, scientists enthusi- astically embraced a new idea. They al- ready thought that natural selection—the process in which the organism best suit-

While the word “species” is used frequently in this section, it should be noted that this term is not found in the Bible book of Genesis. There we find the term “kind,” which is much broader in meaning. Of- ten, what scientists choose to call the evolution of a new species is simply a matter of variation within a “kind,” as the word is used in the Genesis account. Research shows that the cell’s cytoplasm, its membranes, and other structures also play a role in shaping an organism.

ed to its environment is most likely to sur- vive and breed—could produce new spe- cies of plants from random mutations. Therefore, they now assumed that artifi- cial, or human-guided, selection of mu- tations should be able to do the same thing but more efficiently. “Euphoria spread among biologists in general and geneticists and breeders in particular,”

said Wolf-Ekkehard L onnig, a scien- tist from the Max Planck Institute for

Plant Breeding Research in Germany.

Why the euphoria? L onnig, who has spent some 30 years studying mutation genetics in plants, said: “These research- ers thought that the time had come to revolutionize the traditional method

¨

¨

L onnig believes that life was created. His com- ments in this publication are his own and do not rep-

resent the opinion of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research.

¨

Mutant fruit flies, though malformed, are still fruit flies

Mutations can introduce changes in plants—such as this mutant with large flowers—but only within limits

Normal

Normal

of breeding plants and animals. They thought that by inducing and selecting favorable mutations, they could produce new and better plants and animals.” 20 In fact, some hoped to produce entirely new species. Scientists in the United States, Asia, and Europe launched well-funded re- search programs using methods that promised to speed up evolution. After more than 40 years of intensive research, what were the results? “In spite of an enormous financial expenditure,” says re- searcher Peter von Sengbusch, “the at- tempt to cultivate increasingly produc- tive varieties by irradiation [to cause mutations], widely proved to be a fail-

ure.” 21 And L onnig said: “By the 1980’s,

the hopes and euphoria among scientists had ended in worldwide failure. Mutation breeding as a separate branch of research was abandoned in Western countries. Al-

died or were

most all the mutants

weaker than wild varieties.” Even so, the data now gathered from some 100 years of mutation research in general and 70 years of mutation breed-

ing in particular enable scientists to draw conclusions regarding the ability of muta- tions to produce new species. After ex-

amining the evidence, L onnig concluded:

“Mutations cannot transform an original species [of plant or animal] into an en- tirely new one. This conclusion agrees with all the experiences and results of mutation research of the 20th century taken together as well as with the laws of probability.”

¨

¨

Mutation experiments repeatedly found that the number of new mutants steadily declined, while the same type of mutants regularly appeared. In addition, less than 1 percent of plant mutations were chosen for further research, and less than 1 percent of this group were found suitable for commercial use. However, not one entirely new species was ever created. The results of mutation breeding in animals were even worse than in plants, and the method was abandoned entirely.

So, can mutations cause one species

to evolve into a completely new kind of

creature? The evidence answers no! L on- nig’s research has led him to the conclu- sion that “properly defined species have real boundaries that cannot be abol- ished or transgressed by accidental muta- tions.” 22 Consider the implications of the above facts. If highly trained scientists are un- able to produce new species by artificial- ly inducing and selecting favorable mu- tations, is it likely that an unintelligent process would do a better job? If research shows that mutations cannot transform an original species into an entirely new one, then how, exactly, was macroevolu-

tion supposed to have taken place?

Myth 2. Natural selection led to the creation of new species. Darwin be-

lieved that what he called natural selec- tion would favor those life-forms best suited to the environment, whereas less suitable life-forms would eventually die off. Modern evolutionists teach that as species spread and became isolated, nat- ural selection chose the ones with gene mutations that made them capable of sur- viving in their new environment. As a re-

sult, evolutionists speculate, these isolat-

ed groups eventually developed into totally new species. The facts. As previously noted, the ev- idence from research strongly indicates that mutations cannot produce entirely new kinds of plants or animals. Neverthe- less, what proof do evolutionists provide to support the claim that natural selec- tion chooses beneficial mutations to pro- duce new species? A brochure published in 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the United States re- fers to “the 13 species of finches studied

by Darwin on the Gal apagos Islands,

now known as Darwin’s finches.” 23

¨

´

Beak drawings: From the book Journal of Researches, by Charles Darwin (1873), image courtesy Biodiversity Heritage Library

In the 1970’s, a research group led by Peter R. and B. Rosemary Grant of Princeton University began studying these finches and discovered that after a year of drought on the islands, finch- es that had slightly bigger beaks survived more readily than those with smaller beaks. Since observing the size and shape of the beaks is one of the pri- mary ways of determining the 13 spe- cies of finches, these findings were as- sumed to be significant. “The Grants have estimated,” continues the NAS bro- chure, “that if droughts occur about once every 10 years on the islands, a new spe- cies of finch might arise in only about 200 years.” 24 However, the NAS brochure neglects to mention that in the years following the drought, finches with smaller beaks again dominated the population. The research- ers found that as the climatic conditions on the island changed, finches with lon- ger beaks were dominant one year, but later those with smaller beaks were dom- inant. They also noticed that some of the

At best, Darwin’s finches show that a species can adapt to changing climates

different “species” of finches were inter- breeding and producing offspring that survived better than the parents. They concluded that if the interbreeding con- tinued, it could result in the fusion of two “species” into just one. 25 So, does natural selection really create entirely new species? Decades ago, evo- lutionary biologist George Christopher Williams began questioning whether nat- ural selection had such power. 26 In 1999, evolutionary theorist Jeffrey H. Schwartz wrote that natural selection may be help- ing species adapt to the changing de- mands of existence, but it is not creating anything new. 27 Indeed, Darwin’s finches are not be- coming “anything new.” They are still finches. And the fact that they are inter- breeding casts doubt on the methods some evolutionists use to define a spe- cies. In addition, information about these birds exposes the fact that even presti- gious scientific academies are not above reporting evidence in a biased manner.

Juan Carlos Mu noz/age ˜

of Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

fotostock, and courtesy

Myth 3. The fossil record documents macroevolutionary changes. The previ-

ously mentioned NAS brochure leaves the reader with the impression that the fossils found by scientists more than ade- quately document macroevolution. It de- clares: “So many intermediate forms have been discovered between fish and amphibians, between amphibians and reptiles, between reptiles and mammals, and along the primate lines of descent that it often is difficult to identify cate- gorically when the transition occurs from one to another particular species.” 28 The facts. The confident statement made by the NAS brochure is quite sur- prising. Why? Niles Eldredge, a staunch evolutionist, states that the fossil record

According to the fossil record, all the major groups of animals appeared suddenly and remained virtually unchanged

shows, not that there is a gradual accu- mulation of change, but that for long pe- riods of time, “little or no evolutionary change accumulates in most species.” 29 To date, scientists worldwide have unearthed and cataloged some 200 mil- lion large fossils and billions of small fos- sils. Many researchers agree that this vast and detailed record shows that all the ma- jor groups of animals appeared suddenly and remained virtually unchanged, with many species disappearing as suddenly as they arrived.

Belief in evolution —an act of “faith”

Why do many prominent evolutionists

Even the few examples from the fossil record that researchers point to as proof of evolution are open to debate. See pages 22 to 29 of the brochure, The Origin of Life—Five Questions Worth Asking, published by Je- hovah’s Witnesses.

insist that macroevolution is a fact? Rich- ard Lewontin, an influential evolution- ist, candidly wrote that many scientists are willing to accept unproven scien- tific claims because they “have a prior commitment, a commitment to materi- alism.” Many scientists refuse even to consider the possibility of an intelligent Designer because, as Lewontin writes, “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” 30 In this regard, sociologist Rodney Stark is quoted in Scientific American as saying: “There’s been 200 years of mar- keting that if you want to be a scientif- ic person you’ve got to keep your mind free of the fetters of religion.” He further notes that in research universities, “the religious people keep their mouths shut.” 31 If you are to accept the teaching of macroevolution as true, you must believe that agnostic or atheistic scientists will not let their personal beliefs influence their interpretations of scientific findings. You must believe that mutations and nat- ural selection produced all complex life- forms, despite a century of research that shows that mutations have not trans- formed even one properly defined spe- cies into something entirely new. You must believe that all creatures gradual- ly evolved from a common ancestor, de- spite a fossil record that strongly indi- cates that the major kinds of plants and animals appeared abruptly and did not evolve into other kinds, even over aeons of time. Does that type of belief sound as though it is based on facts or on myths? Really, belief in evolution is an act of “faith.”

“Materialism,” in this sense, refers to a theory that everything in the universe, including all life, came into existence without any supernatural intervention in the process.

How would you reply?

˛ How would you respond to the claim that proof of so-called microevolution is evidence that macroevolution must have taken place?

˛ Why is it significant that the fossil record shows that the majority of species changed very little over vast periods of time?

Nebula: IAC/RGO/David Malin Images

Science and the Genesis account

Many people claim that science disproves the Bible’s account of creation. However, the real contradiction is, not between science and the Bible, but between science and the opinions of Christian Fundamentalists. Some of these groups falsely assert that according to the Bible, all physical creation was produced in six 24-hour days approximately 10,000 years ago.

The Bible, however, does not support such a conclusion. If it did, then many scientific discoveries over the past one hundred years would indeed discredit the Bible. A careful study of the Bible text reveals no conflict with estab- lished scientific facts. For that reason, Jehovah’s Witnesses disagree with Christian Fundamentalists and many creationists. The following shows what the Bible really teaches.

When was “the beginning”?

The Genesis account opens with the simple, powerful statement: “In the be- ginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) A number of Bible scholars agree that this statement describes an action separate from the creative days recounted from verse 3 on- ward. The implication is profound. Ac- cording to the Bible’s opening words, the universe, including our planet, Earth, was in existence for an indefinite time before the creative days began. Geologists estimate that the earth is 4 billion years old, and astronomers calculate that the universe may be as much as 15 billion years old. Do these findings—or their potential future refine- ments—contradict Genesis 1:1? No. The

Bible does not specify the actual age of “the heavens and the earth.” Science is not at odds with the Biblical text.

How long were the creative days?

What about the length of the creative days? Were they literally 24 hours long? Some claim that because Moses—the writer of Genesis—later referred to the day that followed the six creative days as a model for the weekly Sabbath, each of the creative days must be literally 24 hours long. (Exodus 20:11) Does the wording of Genesis support this conclu- sion? No, it does not. The fact is that the Hebrew word translated “day” can mean various lengths of time, not just a 24-hour

Genesis does not teach that the earth and the universe were created in six 24-hour days just a few thousand years ago

Events starting during one “day” continued into one or more of the following “days”

period. For example, when summarizing God’s creative work, Moses refers to all six creative days as one day. (Genesis 2:4) In addition, on the first creative day, “God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night.” (Genesis 1:5) Here, only a portion of a 24-hour period is defined by the term “day.” Certainly, there is no basis in Scripture for arbitrari- ly stating that each creative day was 24 hours long. How long, then, were the creative days? The Bible does not say; however, the wording of Genesis chapters 1 and 2 indicates that considerable lengths of time were involved.

Six creative periods

Moses wrote his account in Hebrew, and he wrote it from the perspective of a person standing on the surface of the earth. These two facts combined with the knowledge that the universe existed be- fore the beginning of the creative peri- ods, or days, help to defuse much of the controversy surrounding the creation ac- count. How so?

A careful consideration of the Genesis account reveals that events starting dur- ing one “day” continued into one or more of the following “days.” For example, be- fore the first creative “day” started, light from the already existing sun was some- how prevented from reaching the earth’s surface, possibly by thick clouds. (Job 38:9) During the first “day,” this barrier began to clear, allowing diffused light to penetrate the atmosphere. On the second “day,” the atmosphere evidently continued to clear, creating a space between the thick clouds above and the ocean below. On the fourth “day,” the atmosphere gradually cleared to such an extent that the sun and the moon were made to appear “in the ex- panse of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:14-16) In other words, from the perspective of a person on earth, the sun and moon began to be discernible. These events happened gradually.

In the description of what happened on the first “day,” the Hebrew word used for light is ’ohr, light in a general sense, but concerning the fourth “day,” the word used is ma·’ohr , which refers to the source of light.

The Genesis account also relates that as the atmosphere continued to clear, flying creatures—including insects and membrane-winged creatures—started to appear on the fifth “day.” The Bible’s narrative allows for the possibility that some major events dur- ing each day, or creative period, occurred gradually rather than instantly, perhaps some of them even lasting into the follow- ing creative days.

According to their kinds

Does this progressive appearance of plants and animals imply that God used evolution to produce the vast diversity of living things? No. The record clear- ly states that God created all the basic “kinds” of plant and animal life. (Gene- sis 1:11, 12, 20-25) Were these origi- nal “kinds” of plants and animals pro- grammed with the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions? What defines the boundary of a “kind”?

For example, during the sixth creative day, God decreed that humans “become many and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28, 31) Yet, this event did not even begin to occur until the following “day.”—Genesis 2:2.

Penguins: By courtesy of John R. Peiniger

Modern research confirms that all living things reproduce “according to their

kinds”

The Bible does not say. How- ever, it does state that living creatures “swarmed forth ac-

cording to their kinds.” (Gen- esis 1:21) This statement im- plies that there is a limit to the amount of variation that can occur within a “kind.” Both the fossil record and modern re- search support the idea that the funda- mental categories of plants and animals have changed little over vast periods of time.

Contrary to the claims of some reli- gious fundamentalists, Genesis does not teach that the universe, including the

How would you reply?

˛ What are some common misconceptions about the Bible’s account of creation?

˛ Why is it remarkable that the Bible and science agree on many points?

earth and all living things on it, was creat- ed in a short period of time in the rela- tively recent past. Rather, aspects of the description in Genesis of the creation of the universe and the appearance of life on earth harmonize with recent scientific discoveries. Because of their philosophical beliefs, many scientists reject the Bible’s decla- ration that God created all things. Inter- estingly, however, in the ancient Bible book of Genesis, Moses wrote that the universe had a beginning and that life appeared in stages, progressively, over periods of time. How could Moses gain access to such scientifically accurate in- formation some 3,500 years ago? There is one logical explanation. The One with the power and wisdom to create the heavens and the earth could certain- ly give Moses such advanced knowledge. This gives weight to the Bible’s claim that it is “inspired of God.” —2 Timothy

3:16.

You may wonder, though, does it real- ly matter whether you believe the Bi- ble’s account of creation? Consider some compelling reasons why the answer does matter.

For more information on this subject, see the bro- chure A Book for All People, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

& Faunia, Madrid

Does it matter what you believe?

Do you think that life has a purpose? Evolutionist Wil- liam B. Provine says: “What we have learned about the evolutionary process has enormous implications for us, affecting our sense of meaning in life.” His conclusion? “I can see no cosmic or ultimate meaning in human life.” 32

Consider the significance of those words. If ultimate meaning in life were nonexistent, then you would have no pur- pose in living other than to try to do some measure of good and perhaps pass on your genetic traits to the next generation. At death, you would cease to exist for- ever. Your brain, with its ability to think, reason, and meditate on the meaning of life, would simply be an accident of na- ture. That is not all. Many who believe in evolution assert that God does not exist or that he will not intervene in human af- fairs. In either case, our future would rest in the hands of political, academic, and religious leaders. Judging from the past record of such men, the chaos, conflict, and corruption that blight human soci- ety would continue. If, indeed, evolution were true, there would seem to be ample reason to live by the fatalistic motto: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.”—1 Corinthians 15:32. By contrast, the Bible teaches: “With [God] is the source of life.” (Psalm 36:9) Those words have profound implica- tions.

If what the Bible says is true, life does have meaning. Our Creator has a loving purpose that extends to all who choose to live in accord with his will. (Ecclesiastes 12:13) That purpose includes the prom- ise of life in a world free of chaos, con- flict, and corruption—and even free of death.—Psalm 37:10, 11; Isaiah 25:6-8. With good reason, millions of people around the world believe that learning about God and obeying him give mean- ing to life as nothing else can! (John 17:3) Such a belief is not based on mere wishful thinking. The evidence is clear —life was created.

How would you reply?

˛ What are you inclined to believe—that we evolved or that we were created? Why do you so answer?

˛ What are some good reasons for examining the basis for your beliefs?

David Hawks

Bibliography

The Living Planet

1. Scientific American, Special Issue 2008 enti-

tled “Majestic Universe,” p. 11.

2. Perfect Planet, Clever Species—How Unique

Are We? by William C. Burger, 2003, pp. 24, 34.

3. Rare Earth—Why Complex Life Is Uncommon

in the Universe, by Peter D. Ward and Donald

Brownlee, 2000, p. 224.

4. The Sacred Balance—Rediscovering Our Place

in Nature, by David Suzuki, 2007, p. 102.

5. God and the New Cosmology—The Anthropic

Design Argument, by M. A. Corey, 1993, pp. 144-145.

Box: Teeming With Life

6. Wildlife in a Changing World—An Analysis of the 2008 IUCN Red

List of Threatened Species, edited

´

by Jean-Christophe Vi e, Craig Hilton-Taylor, and Simon N. Stuart, 2009, p. 6.

7. Journal of Industrial Micro- biology, “Total Bacterial Diversi- ty in Soil and Sediment Commu- nities—A Review,” by V. Torsvik, R. Sørheim, and J. Goksøyr, Volume 17, 1996, pp. 170-

178.

8. Science, “Environmental Ge- nomics Reveals a Single-Species Ecosystem Deep Within Earth,” by Dylan Chivian, et al, Vol- ume 322, October 10, 2008, pp. 275-278.

9. Scientific American, “Microbe Census Reveals

Air Crawling With Bacteria,” by David Biello, http://www.scientificamerican.com/ article.cfm?id˙microbe-census-reveals-ai.

Who Designed It First?

10. Natural History, “As the Whale Turns,” by

Adam Summers, June 2004, pp. 24-25.

11. Science, Random Samples, “Flippered

Flight,” May 21, 2004, p. 1106.

12. New Scientist, Technology, “Is It a Bird, Is It

a Plane

13. Heat Exchanger Design, Second Edition,

by Arthur P. Fraas, 1989, p. 2.

,” September 3, 2005, p. 21.

14. The Economist Technology Quarterly, Report,

“Technology That Imitates Nature,” June 11,

2005, pp. 18-22.

15. The New York Times, “Design for Living,”

by Michael J. Behe, February 7, 2005, p. A21.

Evolution—Myths and Facts

16. Natural History, “Darwin & Evolution—The

Illusion of Design,” by Richard Dawkins, Novem-

ber 2005, p. 37.

17. Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin, First

Edition, 1859, Sixth Edition, 1872, pp. 285-286.

18. Charles Darwin—The Origin of Species,

Introduction by Sir Julian Huxley, 1958 for Intro- duction, First Signet Classic Printing, Septem- ber 2003, p. 458.

19. Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine

1942-1962, 1999, “The Production of Muta-

tions,” by H. J. Muller, 1946, p. 162.

20. Mutation Breeding, Evolution, and the

Law of Recurrent Variation, by Wolf-Ekkehard

L onnig, “Expectations in Mutation Breeding,”

2005, p. 48, and interview with Wolf-Ekkehard

¨

L onnig.

21. Mutation Breeding, Evolution, and the Law

of Recurrent Variation, pp. 48-51.

22. Mutation Breeding, Evolution, and the Law

of Recurrent Variation, pp. 49, 50, 52, 54, 59,

¨

64, and interview with Wolf-Ekkehard L onnig.

23. Science and Creationism—A View From the

National Academy of Sciences, “Evidence Sup- porting Biological Evolution,” 1999, p. 10.

24. Science and Creationism—A View From the

National Academy of Sciences, “Evidence Sup-

porting Biological Evolution,” p. 11.

25. Scientific American, “Natural Selection and

Darwin’s Finches,” by Peter R. Grant, Octo- ber 1991, p. 87;

Nature, “Oscillating Selection on Darwin’s Finches,” by H. Lisle Gibbs and Peter R. Grant, June 11, 1987, p. 511;

Science, “Hybridization of Bird Species,” by Peter

R. Grant and B. Rosemary Grant, April 10, 1992,

pp. 193-197.

26. Adaption and Natural Selection, by George

C. Williams, 1966, p. 54.

27. Sudden Origins—Fossils, Genes, and the

Emergence of Species, by Jeffrey H. Schwartz, 1999, pp. 317-320.

¨

NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScl/AURA) -ESA/Hubble Collaboration

28. Science and Creationism—A View From

the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition, “Evidence Supporting Biological Evolu- tion,” p. 14.

29. The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure

of Creationism, by Niles Eldredge, 2000,

pp. 49, 85.

30. The New York Review of Books, “Billions

and Billions of Demons,” by Richard C. Lewon-

tin, January 9, 1997, pp. 28-32.

31. Scientific American, “Scientists and Reli-

gion in America,” by Edward J. Larson and Lar-

ry Witham, September 1999, p. 91.

Does It Matter What You Believe?

32. Science, Technology, and Social Progress,

edited by Steven L. Goldman, “Evolution and the Foundation of Ethics,” by William B. Pro-

vine, 1989, pp. 253, 266.

A BOOK

FOR ALL

PEOPLE

What other book

˛ contains timeless principles for all people?

˛ has had such a profound impact on law?

˛ has inspired some to risk death in order to translate and copy it?

The 32-page brochure A Book for All People considers these and many additional reasons for reading the Bible.

You can also find answers to the following questions:

˛ Why do we suffer?

˛ How can we make our family life happier?

˛ What happens to us when we die?

WHAT DOES

THE BIBLE

Really TEACH?

The 224-page book What Does the Bible Really Teach? answers those and many other questions.

Would you welcome more information?

You may contact Jehovah’s Witnesses at www.jw.org.

Was life created, or are you purely the product of random, undirected events? Few questions create more controversy. Yet, the answer is vitally important. This brochure considers such questions as these:

˛ Was our planet designed for life?

˛ What can we learn from the designs evident in nature?

˛ Is the teaching of evolution based solidly on fact?

˛ Has science disproved the Bible’s account of creation?

˛ Why does it matter what you believe?

www.jw.org

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